The Fight Must Go On

The night was pitch black. The minimal stars sitting up high in the sky only served as a reminder that we were still in the universe, and the distant street lights and sounds of passing cars were muted while walking across the field.

The grass was cold against my bare feet, and I held the neon pink glow stick inside my shaking hand as every single memory of my fifth and sixth grade years came back to me.

I wasn’t the only one there who had these memories rush into my head. Everyone who had cracked open the glow-stick had something about cancer to remember.

The whole field was silent. The occasional sniffle could be heard, and the tear stained cheeks were inevitable to avoid the longer you walked in silence.

The longer I walked, the more memories rushed into my head, and the more memories eventually made me break down.

I never enjoyed crying in front of people, and normally I don’t. I cry alone, because I’ve always hated crying in front of people and feeling pitied for my tears. But I was surrounded by so many people, and when I knew I wasn’t the only one crying, I didn’t hold the tears back anymore.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

I never had cancer, but the speaker last night was right. In a way, when a loved one gets cancer, it consumes you too. It affects you too. It takes up your mind and heart. My father got cancer, and it killed a part of me too when it killed him.

Cancer is the deadliest weapon of all.

It’s the cause of the pang in your heart when you first find out they were diagnosed.

It’s the weeks spent in hospital waiting room during examinations and testing.

Then there’s the news that the cancer is gone. You think they’re finally safe, until the cancer fights back, and it comes back worse and worse, until it eventually takes over and kills.

It’s weeks of watching the life in the eyes of your friends or family fade away. When they go from being healthy, lively souls, to being trapped in their beds with no energy to get out.

It’s the fight that soon becomes too hard to keep continuing.

The consequence of cancer isn’t always death, but it’s the long suffering before it.

Not every cancer story ends with a cure.

Not every cancer story ends in a peaceful death.

In fact, most of them don’t. The cancer eats up everything. It eats up their health, and their happiness, and their motivation until all there is left is remnants of hope and loved ones close trying to help continue the fight for them.

But that was what the walk was for. We were fighting for those who couldn’t fight anymore. I was fighting for my dad who was hoping for a cure, and didn’t get one. Who didn’t win the fight. Every year I walk with survivors, caretakers, and friends to continue the fight, so that one day, the war against cancer will finally be won.


1-0…. Again

Well we just played our first game of the season on Wednesday and just like last year’s first game…. WE WON!!!!

It was a great game against Thacher’s JV squad, but we came out on top.

The game started of with an upbeat tempo.

One of our running-backs, Min Choi, scored a touchdown on the first play of the game.

I thought I was going to be a lot more excited when that happened, but I felt like crap.

I had been fighting a gnarly cold all week and I still am.

I had crap in my lungs making it hard to breathe, and I was just generally exhausted from being sick.

On top of that I was stupid and forgot to drink anything during the day which is unlike me. I was so crazy dehydrated during the game that I kept getting dizzy, and I didn’t really pay attention to what was going on; I kind of just played and that was it.

Anyways, it was still fun to play.

Playing a game is always fun especially when the score climbs and climbs and climbs, with nothing on the opposition’s side.

By about 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter the score was 44-0 in our favor.

Thacher ended up scoring shortly after that, but it wasn’t enough to make a come back.

We were very excited to play, and we as a team are looking forward to playing Trinity Classical Academy next week.

It is going to be a very tough game, as Trinity was 5th in California last year, but we are a different team then we have ever been.

Before our games and during practice sometimes I lead a chant where I ask my team what season it is. The answer to the question…. THE SEASON!

This is the season for OVS football. Almost our entire team is seniors. We have all played and started for 3-4 years. The total years between all the players is what all high school teams are looking for.

Not to mention, or defensive and offensive line adds up to close to 1,000 pounds of pure man.

I hope this season goes well and I hope we go undefeated. The only downfall to us going undefeated is that I made a bet with a teammate.

I bet him if we went undefeated I would pierce my nipple and my ear, and connect the two piercings with a chain.

I have no idea why I made this bet, but in the state of happiness I will be in if we win every game, I don’t think the pain will bother me.

Stay tuned to the blog to check on the well-being of my nipple, oh yeah and also how we do on the rest of our games.


The Eagle takes the Desert


The desert was once a peaceful place.

Dangers that existed were simply sand and time.

The Eagle however was not happy.

Collision and building of a great city shook the eagle.

Thus to take vengeance he flew to the desert.

The desert’s people could do little against the Eagle.

Although their leader was wrong he did not deserve an attack.

Those under the Eagle speak of why the desert was attacked.

The true reason lies in nourishment.

Nourishment of body.

Nourishment of machine.

Nourishment of the world.

The Eagle shatters the quietness of the desert.

Victory comes swiftly as the Eagle steals the life of the desert.


The Finale/Beginning of the NFL Season

Well it’s all over now. The Super Bowl is finished and another season is in the books. The Baltimore Ravens have emerged as the Super Bowl Champions over the favored San Francisco 49ers. The Ravens were in control for most of the game, and for a moment, really lost their edge. However, the Ravens were able to get it together when it mattered, and held on to win. The Harbowl ended with John very badly outcoaching his brother, Jim. John went for some very gutsy calls all game.

His first was a fake field goal run for Justin Tucker that while did not result in a first down or a score, resulted in a 3 and out for the 9ers on their own 6 yard line. It was a win-win for John. The next gut-wrencher was when John decided to call a pass on a 3rd down and short that resulted in a 15-20 yard gain from Joe Flacco to Anquan Boldin. It was a great pass and catch, but was somewhat unneeded. The final one was the most impressive, however. With 13 seconds left in the game, the punter, Sam Koch, must have been told to HOLD ONTO THE BALL AT ALL COSTS. DO NOT PUNT. DO NOT FUMBLE!!!

The play resulted in the 9ers getting a safety. But the clock ran down so far, that Colin Kaepernick was not going to step on the field again. The game was left to the return game with only 4 seconds left. The kick off was taken and the rest is history. No score meant a ravens victory.

My shoutout goes to Ray Lewis, who has been an idol of mine since the very beginning. I gotta love that guy.

The 2012/2013 season has come to a close, but the new 2013/2014 season began at 12 AM eastern time. The new season is an hour and a half old. Time to get back to work. Many trades, contracts and player drama will occur in the coming months. Free agency opens in a month and a half, which is one of my favorite times of the league year. I love watching money go flying. Hopefully my Eagles can pick up some big names. But the night belongs to Baltimore. Congratulations to Ray Lewis on finishing his career on a high note, and congrats to the Baltimore Ravens. They earned it!

A Fantastic Start

Saturday’s football game against Lee Vining was a great game for us at OVS. The new players and the veterans had great games. Juniors Cody Triggs, Keaton Shiffman and John Olivo were just a few of the players that endured nearly ever play.

John Olivo also ran for one of the 8 touchdowns, shedding 5 tacklers on the way there. He had a second carry later on in the game resulting in 15 yards and a number of Lee Vining defenders with failed tackles.

Sophomore Masaki Takamatsu, in his first ever football game, ran for three touchdowns eluding the defense and shedding tackles on his way to the end zone.
He also caught a pass for his fourth touchdown of the day. Read More »

Behind the Scenes of the Lee Vining Live Blog

Hello all, we are finally back from our football road trip where we came out victorious against the Lee Vining Tigers, putting us 4th in our free lance league, and currently putting us in an undefeated position with our 52-28 win.

Now, if you are reading this post I hope you have read our Lee Vining updates where the whole trip is laid out day by day, highlighting major moments and fun times.

What you as a reader get is different than what I as a writer experience on a day to day basis. Some of our readers may envision students and teachers alike sitting in an office or classroom that is well groomed and maintained, writing on computers in newsrooms like those portrayed on TV and in movies.

It is actually quite the contrary if you are reading our blogs from the Lee Vining trip. Our three  journalists on the Lee Vining trip were me (Keaton Shiffman), second year journalist (John Olivo), and first year journalist and photographer (Nicholas Giannetti).

It may seem obvious that trees and bushes do not output a strong WiFi signal, rather, none at all. So every night of our trip after all of our camp business was done, and food was taken care of, the journalists along with Mr. John Wickenhaeuser travelled down the road into the small town of Lee Vining.

Lee Vining is not the most normal of towns, because as it currently states on its welcome sign, it has a population of 398, which could have varied from the first time this sign was put up.

The first night of blogging was done from a Mobil Gas station, which also supplemented as a restaurant, gift shop, and convenience store. John, Mr. Wick, and Mr. Craig Floyd, all sat outside on the picnic style benches this gas station had to offer, and used a phone’s internet to post our Lee Vining: Day 1 post. John and I sat outside in the cold writing on the computers to inform our readers of how the first day and night had gone so far. This blog can be found on John’s profile, backinphilly, where we co-wrote the first story.

After about an hour of blogging John, our faculty supervisors, and I headed back to camp to find all of our teammates and remaining coaches asleep.

The next morning was the game which can also be found on the “backinphilly” blog. This day turned out better than expected with a great victory, but we played against a team with such great work ethic, and even better sportsmanship. Read all about Day 2 in Lee Vining @ Lee Vining: Day 2. This blog was written in an even more unique spot than a gas station diner, a McDonalds PlayPlace.

After our first varsity victory, the team enjoyed a fantastic meal at Giovanni’s Pizza in Mammoth Lakes, CA.

After dinner, we once again ventured out to a new blog spot, and it turned out that McDonalds had accessible WiFi, so we hopped on that opportunity.

When we first arrived, briefcase in hand, covered in dirt, sweat, and tears, I would have expected an unusual look from the staff, but maybe that was normal for them.

What really should have provoked a look was the fact that when we could not find any power outlets, we set up shop in the middle of the napkins and straws. And even at that no McDonalds employee minded the fact that we had set up our computer at a random condiment counter in the middle of their restaurant.

While writing we had a few visitors trying to find a straw or a napkin to wipe off their hands. Even at that nobody really wanted to question the two large teenage boys sitting and writing on a laptop in the middle of a McDonalds in Mammoth.

About 30 minutes into our writing one employee finally decided to tell us there was a power outlet under a seating area in the front lobby of the establishment. We picked up and moved there, and in this area there was a PlayPlace located conveniently on our left.

While we wrote on the couch like seat, we had to seize a great photo op in which John and I sat in the PlayPlace finishing our Day 2 blog.

I now see why these play places are made for children and not grown adolescent boys who have heights that exceed 6 feet.

This blog spot provoked a few laugh after an amazing and exhausting day.

We once again packed up, got in the car and headed back to camp, where once again we found a campground in a slumber after a day of hard work.

This really shows the dedication of our Journalists, and the want to let our readers  know how we do what we do.

I hope this shed some light on what really goes on behind the scenes in the life of an OVS Journalists, and what it is like blogging on the road while playing one of the most memorable football games any of us will ever take part in.

From Keaton “That Guy” Shiffman, back in Ojai, I bid you good evening.

Also, contrary to popular belief apparently, I was not stuck in the slide at the PlayPlace, I was merely lost in the ever so confusing maze of tunnels that I may or may not have been to large to have been crawling around in.


Girls’ Soccer Team Earns First Win of the Season

Yesterday, around 2:15, our girls soccer team headed down to the field to warm up for our first game of the season. We were all a little nervous to play against Thacher school, but once the game began, it became obvious that we would be victorious.

We started out with a goal in only the first five minutes of the game, and once that happened, out energy just shot through the roof. The entire game we defended well, and played great offense as a team. Despite the difficulties with the refs, the game went perfect.

We ended out the game with a score of five to zero and celebrated our victory together as a team while still being respectful to Thacher. We all high-fived each other and said “good game” and it was over. For the first game of the season, we far exceeded our own expectations and I can’t wait to see how the rest of our season unfolds, try to make it down to one of the games if you want to see for yourself!